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One man’s junk is another man’s disease: Exploring hoarding as reality television entertainment

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Reality television programmes focusing on issues of ‘hoarding’ (accumulating items and possessions at unhealthy levels) have become popular on US cable networks such as A&E and TLC. But while these shows outwardly appear to be offering help to those who are featured on the series (as well as viewers at home), the quick-fix solutions and pseudo-medical treatments exhibited may have serious negative consequences for participants and media consumers alike. This article will explore the current state of hoarding within the medical profession, how the disease is depicted through reality television programming, and the problems that result from the superficial and insensitive portrayals of hoarders and their lifestyles.
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Keywords: Hoarders; Hoarding: Buried Alive; health communication; hoarding; media effects; reality television

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Dalton State College

Publication date: April 1, 2014

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